Happy holidays, everyone! As Christmas nears, here’s what you need to know about the big man in red, Santa Claus. Is he real? What’s his history? We’ve got you covered!
1. Is Santa real? Talk about a loaded question. While many of us spent our childhood believing that the big man in red would slide down our chimney every night to deliver Christmas presents, Santa is not a real person. Spoiler alert! “Children’s belief in Santa starts when they’re between 3 and 4 years old,” Thalia Goldstein, assistant professor of applied developmental psychology at George Mason University, told CNN. “It’s very strong when they’re between about 4 and 8,” she said. “Then, at 8 years old is when we start to see the drop-off in belief, when children start to understand the reality of Santa Claus.” As kids get older, they start to realize that there’s no way one human could get around the world and deliver presents in one night. Despite the fact that Santa Claus is only a legend, the magic of Christmas is still very much alive. Santa is a pivotal Christmas figure who won’t be going away any time soon.
2. His story goes back as far as the 3rd century. The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back to a monk named St. Nicholas, according to History.com. It is believed that St. Nicholas gave away all his “inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick.” He was known for gift-giving and being a protector of children and sailors. After his death, his reputation helped fuel the legend of Santa Claus.
3. He’s known by other names. In addition to Santa Claus, the legendary figure is also known as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and St. Nick.
4. Why do families leave milk and cookies for Santa? Many families love to leave out treats for Santa the night before Christmas. This American tradition really gained popularity in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Parents wanted to teach their children the important of giving to others and to be thankful for anything they received on Christmas, according to History.com.
5. Rudolph wasn’t one of Santa’s original reindeer. The eight reindeer — Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen — were introduced in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore. The immense popularity of the 1949 song by Johnny Marks, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” based off the 1939 book of the same name led to Rudolph joining the list of Santa’s reindeers.
HollywoodLifers, did you believe in Santa when you were little? Let us know!